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Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna

Libya
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
  • Desertification
  • Illegal activities
  • War
  • Other Threats:

    Deterioration of the stone masonry; Discharge of domestic wastewater at the west of the property

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Flooding (issue resolved)
  • Conflict situation
  • Deterioration of the stone masonry
  • Sand covering certain areas of the property
  • Graffiti and fires
  • Discharge of domestic wastewater at the west of the property
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
Conflict situation prevailing in the country
Corrective Measures for the property

Not yet identified

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Not yet established

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2019

Total amount granted: USD 24,543 for the European Project “Protection of Cultural Heritage and Diversity in Complex Emergencies for Peace and Stability”

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2019
Requests approved: 3 (from 1988-1990)
Total amount approved : 45,500 USD
Missions to the property until 2019**

1988: UNESCO mission; March 2003: World Heritage Centre mission; May 2006: World Heritage Centre mission; January 2007: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

On 8 February 2019, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report. An executive summary of this report is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/183/documents/. Progress in a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions is presented in this report, as follows:

  • Vandalism continues to decrease, as does the amount of vegetation overgrowth and animal grazing, this being achieved by periodic weeding, with assurances that it will not damage any archaeological remains buried near the surface or create any disturbance to wildlife. Trees that are dangerous to the public or to the archaeological remains and buildings have also been removed. Efforts are still underway with the local authority to address the issue of unauthorized discharge of domestic wastewater and sand drift;
  • There is a general improvement in relation to addressing the impact of human and environmental threats at the property, which is due to an increase in trained staff. The property remains open to the public. However, site museums are secured and remain closed, with collections stored in safer locations;
  • The boundary clarification adopted in 2018 has been shared with the Municipality of Al-Khoms and the Urban Planning Authority, for protection and conservation purposes;
  • Measures have been identified and are being undertaken to prevent damage and violations that may affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in collaboration with the tourist police and the local community. Periodic cleaning of Wadi Lebda is conducted to avoid the repeat of the 1978 flooding, and continuous cleaning of undergrowth is done to protect the archaeological buildings and the city from fires in summer. The local authority has been asked to build a barrier to prevent sand encroachment. Efforts are also underway to establish permanent laboratory facilities for basic conservation and research, as well as training of conservators to help restore buildings and archaeological objects;
  • The lack of funding is still a concern that prevents regular maintenance of the property, which is the main cause of deterioration. The State Party intends to call on the international community to provide more financial and technical support.

The State Party requests the World Heritage Committee to remove the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger and to this end has formally invited a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to assess the state of conservation of the property.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2019

The information provided by the State Party demonstrates its commitment to the conservation of the property, despite the prevailing conflict. Nevertheless, the recent escalation of violence as well as a lack of funding is preventing the State Party from carrying out major conservation works. It is recommended that the Committee call upon the international community to support the State Party in its conservation efforts.

No information was submitted that addresses the deterioration of stone masonry or the control of graffiti. Measures reported by the State Party with regard to sand control, fire prevention and the discharge of domestic wastewater west of the property are welcome.

With the commencement of the third cycle of the Periodic Reporting exercise, the State Party has expressed its willingness to initiate the elaboration of management plans for all five of its World Heritage properties, and will seek international support to achieve this objective. It also reported on an increasing awareness by civil society, local and national authorities and high-level decision-makers about the necessity to protect cultural heritage in Libya, including World Heritage properties.

The effort made to clarify the property’s boundary is recognized as an indispensable step towards its protection and management. The ongoing close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS concerning the definition of a buffer zone is highly appreciated. It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its appeal to the State Party to continue this cooperation, in line with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines.

It is recommended that the State Party’s important efforts to conserve the property are oriented in line with the action plan that was developed during the International Meeting on the Safeguard of Libyan Cultural Heritage, held in Tunis in May 2016 (report available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1496), building on the short- and medium-term measures identified during that meeting.

The recent escalation of violence, raises much concern about the sustainability of the efforts made by the State Party in the conservation of the property, as the situation prevents the State Party from undertaking essential actions to protect and conserve the property. It remains crucial that the joint mission invited by the State Party and requested by the Committee at its 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 41st (Krakow, 2017) sessions takes place as soon as the security conditions permit. In the meantime, it is important that the State Party pursue its efforts to keep the Committee, through the World Heritage Centre, updated on the situation on the ground, as well as on the further implementation of the measures it has launched, while addressing, to the extent possible, the comments and requests made by the Committee.

Considering the above-mentioned information, it is recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2019
43 COM 7A.24
Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Libya) (C 183)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7A.23, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Commends the State Party for the important efforts made for the conservation of the property and its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) in close coordination with local communities and civil society, despite the prevailing unstable situation and difficult working conditions on the ground, and urges it to continue its efforts in this regard to the extent possible;
  4. Also requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre regularly informed about the evolution of the situation at the property and of any new measures undertaken to ensure its protection and conservation, as well as any future plans for major restoration or new construction projects that may affect the OUV of the property, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, before making any decisions that would be difficult to reverse;
  5. Encourages the State Party to continue the finalization of the Minor Boundary Modification in close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, in line with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines;
  6. Acknowledges the invitation from the State Party for a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, to take place as soon as the security conditions permit;
  7. Calls for an increased mobilization of the international community to provide financial and technical support to the State Party, including through the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund, to implement the short-, medium- and long-term measures identified during the International Meeting on the Safeguard of Libyan Cultural Heritage (Tunis, May 2016);
  8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020;
  9. Decides to retain Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Libya) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
43 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (Retained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/19/43.COM/7A, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.3 and WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.3.Corr),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 43 COM 7A.41)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision43 COM 7A.42)
  • Austria, Historic Centre of Vienna (Decision 43 COM 7A.45)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 43 COM 7A.48)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.5)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 43 COM 7A.6)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.7)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.8)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 43 COM 7A.9)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.10)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.11)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 43 COM 7A.17)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 43 COM 7A.4)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 43 COM 7A.1)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 43 COM 7A.18)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 43 COM 7A.19)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 43 COM 7A.20)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 43 COM 7A.22)
  • Kenya, Lake Turkana National Parks (Decision 43 COM 7A.12)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 43 COM 7A.23)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 43 COM 7A.24)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 43 COM 7A.25)
  • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 43 COM 7A.26)
  • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 43 COM 7A.27)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 43 COM 7A.13)
  • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 43 COM 7A.53)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 43 COM 7A.54)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 43 COM 7A.55)
  • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 43 COM 7A.43)
  • Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 43 COM 7A.14)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 43 COM 7A.30)
  • Palestine, Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town (Decision 43 COM 7A.29)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 43 COM 7A.50)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 43 COM 7A.51)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.15)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 43 COM 7A.46)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 43 COM 7A.2)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 43 COM 7A.31)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 43 COM 7A.32)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 43 COM 7A.33)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 43 COM 7A.34)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 43 COM 7A.35)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 43 COM 7A.36)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 43 COM 7A.56)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 43 COM 7A.47)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 43 COM 7A.16)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.3)
  • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 43 COM 7A.44)
  • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 43 COM 7A.52)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 43 COM 7A.38)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 43 COM 7A.39)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 43 COM 7A.40)
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7A.24

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7A.23, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Commends the State Party for the important efforts made for the conservation of the property and its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) in close coordination with local communities and civil society, despite the prevailing unstable situation and difficult working conditions on the ground, and urges it to continue its efforts in this regard to the extent possible;
  4. Also requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre regularly informed about the evolution of the situation at the property and of any new measures undertaken to ensure its protection and conservation, as well as any future plans for major restoration or new construction projects that may affect the OUV of the property, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, before making any decisions that would be difficult to reverse;
  5. Encourages the State Party to continue the finalization of the Minor Boundary Modification in close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, in line with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines;
  6. Acknowledges the invitation from the State Party for a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, to take place as soon as the security conditions permit;
  7. Calls for an increased mobilization of the international community to provide financial and technical support to the State Party, including through the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund, to implement the short-, medium- and long-term measures identified during the International Meeting on the Safeguard of Libyan Cultural Heritage (Tunis, May 2016);
  8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020;
  9. Decides to retain Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Libya) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2019
Libya
Date of Inscription: 1982
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)
Danger List (dates): 2016-present
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2019) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 43COM (2019)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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